Urban settlements in all parts of the world are being influenced by new and powerful forces that require governments to reconsider how they manage urban futures. Urban areas in both developed and developing countries will increasingly feel the effects of phenomena such as climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity and economic instability. These are all factors that will significantly reshape towns and cities in the century ahead and all of them need to be effectively addressed if cities are to be sustainable, that is, environmentally safe, economically productive and socially inclusive. Many developing countries, in addition, will continue to experience rapid rates of urbanization. With over half of the world’s population currently living in urban areas,1 there is no doubt that the ‘urban agenda’ will increasingly become a priority for governments everywhere.